The Iowa Family Policy Center is hailing the decision by the Iowa Supreme Court to take up the case of the gay divorce. Attorney Timm Reid says two women whose case came before a Woodbury County District Court judge Jeffery Neary last summer took advantage of Vermont’s civil-union law, but were not legally married. Iowa recognizes marriages (from other states) and would recognize a legally valid marriage done in Vermont, but does not recognize the relationship of a civil union. If you get married in Las Vegas, Montana or Vermont, the state will recognize the marriage under a practice known as “full faith and credit.” He says the legal relationship those women had was a domestic partnership, something Iowa doesn’t recognize, so they’re charging Judge Neary invented a legal relationship and then dissolved it. The judge himself later admitted he might not have authority to divorce two people who weren’t married under this state’s laws. The judge later filed an amendment admitting he didn’t have authority to grant a divorce, but could accomplish the same thing by simply dissolving a civil union, and the center is charging he did not have authority to handle it that way. Attorney Reid says the family group’s legal arm, the Iowa Liberty and Justice Center, challenged the judge’s ruling because it’s concerned he went too far and narrowed the separation between the state’s legislative and judicial branches. The state supreme court first will determine whether the group of conservative state lawmakers has legal standing to mount the challenge, and if it determines they do, then it will take up the matter of the judge’s ruling. Another ruling today may throw more confusion into the mix, after the Massachusetts Supreme Court said civil unions deny equal treatment to homosexuals and they deserve the full benefit of genuine legal marriage.
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